Interview by Carl Marsh - July 2014
as an actress that has been in over 140 episodes of primetime TV, in shows like Jericho, Teen Wolf, CSI, Law and Order, JAG and NCIS: Los Angeles, to list a few. It is great to know that you have a big passion with books and that you agree with me, that everyone should read more. So why do you feel it is important that they should?
Books have been a salvation for me. As a child, they were my escape, and as an adult they are my vacation and my education. Certain books have aided in my growth as a person, a mother, a wife and certain books have informed roles I have played as an actress. Other books have allowed me to close the door to my life and with a glass of wine, transported me to another place entirely.
Authors are my heroes. It takes guts and a lot of clenching colons to write a mere sentence that doesn't suck the life out of the reader.
I know you have written a book recently called 'Gracefully Gone', which is based on the journals of your late father, and those of yourself around the time of his illness. When did you make the decision for the book to be written?
I had the thought of combining both journals to create a book in 1994, when I left the soap opera I was on. I had time on my hands, and a lot of pent up emotion from my father's decade long illness... I needed to do something with it all but wasn't sure what that was. It was 3 years after my father's death and I felt like in our journals, we had something, but it took me 22 years to figure out exactly what Gracefully Gone could, and should be. Clearly, I process slowly! I have learned that all things happen when they are supposed to happen, and Gracefully Gone would not have been the book it is now, had it been written a second earlier than it was.
What message do you want the book to give to anyone reading it, and subsequently taking away from it?
The message of Gracefully Gone is we are not alone. Cancer, terminal illness of any kind has effected and is effecting everyone in some way. Grief begins at diagnosis, children need to be heard, healing is a lifelong process, scars will always remain and love never dies.
Do you plan on writing anything else in the future?
Yes. I am currently in the early stages of writing a book on guiding young women through loss. I am co-writing this with a woman who is an expert in Hospice and Palliative Care. I am also writing a book on the "Women we were before we became the Mommies we are." And to really challenge myself, I am also working on an 8 minute spoken word piece that I will preform in October. That scares me more than anything I've ever done in my life so I know I have to do it.
Talking books still, what is your favourite book, and why is that?
That's like asking my who my favorite daughter is. Impossible. However a few stand out:
1. This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is a sense of great and utter longing in the main character Amory Blaine that I relate to. I used a stanza of a poem in the book at the end of Gracefully Gone. My favorite line is ..."Fear is the echo we traced to Security's daughter: Now we are faces and voices...and less, too soon, Whispering half-love over the lilt of the water...Youth the penny that bought delight of the moon."
2. Shadow Of a Man by May Sarton. Sarton is the complete opposite of Ayn Rand and or Rene DesCartes. Instead of Rand's notion of "Objectivism," of the "I am for me, therefore I am" and DesCartes Cogito, "I think, therefore I am," Sarton's philosophy is, "I FEEL, therefore I am." I am incredibly passionate and emotional probably, most likely, actually definitely, to my deficit. I am highly sensitive and live in a constant state of emotional awareness which feels akin to being a walking, talking, open Root Canal. Good times.
3. Story Of A Lark by Willa Cather. This book speaks to me because it is the journey of a young female Opera singer and all she sacrifices for her art.
4. Margo Channing's monologue in All About Eve by Joseph L Mankiewicz:
"Funny business, a woman's career - the things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman. That's one career all females have in common, whether we like it or not: being a woman. Sooner or later, we've got to work at it, no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis, nothing's any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed, and there he is. Without that, you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a book full of clippings, but you're not a woman. Slow curtain, the end."
I think my love for these words is what has made me choose to be a wife, to be a mother in a town and in a time when perhaps that choice is not the most advantageous career wise. My children and my husband mean everything to me. And at the end of the day, so to speak, I want more for my life than a book of clippings.
Though, I'll have that too.
Are you reading anything at the moment?
I have just finished Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar and was blown away. I fell in love with everyone and everything in those pages. It was utterly transportive. Now I am reading a few books in the Decker and Lazarus Novel Series by Faye and Jonathon Kellerman. I love them. They are interesting, fun and well written. I wish someone, somewhere would make them into a mini-series.
What tips would you offer to anyone considering writing?
Sit down and write like everyone's dead.
With regards acting, are we to expect you in any new projects in the next 12 months?
And if I can talk about Jericho, do you think there will ever be another series of what is one of the best short lived TV series ever to be screened?
What a great compliment. I don't think anyone will ever be able to match what Jericho was. It was more of a time, an experience and a journey than it was a television show. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. It would be wonderful if we all got together again to do another episode...Perhaps if God wills it...
I always ask this, and fortunately, everyone has given me a different answer which always makes everyone smile. "If you could be an animal, what would it be, and why?"
I would be a Lion. I would like to know what it feels like to be at the top of the food chain; To be King, or in my case, Queen of the Jungle.
Thank you so much.
Occupation: Acting / Writing